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Increasing numbers of electric scooters are appearing in American cities.  The spike in scooters is linked to a rise in admissions to emergency rooms.

Mounting concerns over electric scooters led the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to announce a probe into scooter-related crashes and injuries in March. The first study into the issue will consider how these accidents can be prevented.

Details of injuries caused by scooters are emerging as they flood cities across the United States.

What Are Dockless Electric Scooters?

Dockless electric scooters have appeared in American cities over the last 18 months. The compact electric two-wheelers are leading what researchers call the “micro-mobility revolution.”

The scooters can be picked up via an app and left on the streets. You pay for the time you use them. The model has parallels with that of Uber and Lyft. The scooter companies are targeting city drivers who make short commutes on crowded streets and may be tempted to use a scooter or a bike-share instead.

Dockless Scooters Appear in Hampton Roads

In Norfolk, the scooter company Bird flooded the city with electric machines last year. The city impounded 523 scooters and charged Bird $35 each and an additional $5 for every day in storage, according to media reports.

Earlier this year Jessica Dennis, a management analyst for the city, recommended a year trial with a scooter vendor. Cities such as Baltimore and Austin entered similar trials. The scooters are legal in certain parts of Virginia Beach.

Other cities have progressed further down the dockless scooter use. CNN reported as many as 14,000 dockless electric scooters are now found in Austin, the capital of Texas. It is one of the cities with the highest scooter-to-people ratio in the nation. There are 10 operators in Austin including Lime and Bird.

What Are the Dangers of Electric Scooters?

As more people use scooters, the rate of deaths and injuries has risen. Austin’s first scooter-related death was reported in January. Police said Mark Sands, a 21-year-old University of Texas student died just one day after suffering critical injuries when the electric scooter he was riding on was hit by a car.

Two people died in the span of a week in electric scooter crashes in California, prompting new safety concerns.

A 53-year-old man lost control and hit a tree in San Diego. The victim was not wearing a helmet. He was riding on the sidewalk. Police said he suffered serious head injuries.

A 41-year-old man riding on an electric scooter died in Santa Monica in March when he slipped off a scooter and was hit by a car.

Many injuries were reported in Sacramento where the Jump bike and scooter company introduced 100 motor-assisted rental scooters.

The first electric scooter casualties were reported in 2018 in Dallas and Washington D.C.

Concerns about injuries in Austin led to the CDC study, the first by a federal agency into electric scooters.

The scooter study began in December when three CDC epidemiologists spent 14 days in the Texas capital. They looked at incidents and scooter-related injuries over a two-month period from September to November. The team spoke to 258 people who visited emergency rooms with a scooter-related injury. Findings from the study may have far-reaching effects as cities across the country grapple with reports of injuries from these e-scooters.

The Austin study will provide a baseline for others. CNN reported that the first published study examining injuries on dockless scooters was released in January in JAMA Network Open, a peer-reviewed medical journal.

UCLA looked more closely at 249 injured patients (228 scooter riders and 21 pedestrians). The team found head injuries and fractures were the most common injuries suffered on scooters. About 80 percent of riders were hurt in falls, 11 percent collided with an object, and almost 9 percent were struck by moving vehicles. A mere 4 percent of the injured riders wore helmets and about 5 percent were drunk.

Liability for an Electric Scooter Injury in Virginia

Virginia’s cities are further behind places like Austin, Seattle, and San Diego in the electric scooter revolution but dockless scooters arrived in Norfolk, Richmond, and Virginia Beach. We are likely to see more and more over the next 12 months.

Many drivers are not familiar with electric scooters on the streets. They fail to slow down or give these riders enough space. At the same time, many scooter riders are inexperienced at handling these machines.

A driver who causes an injury or a death may be held liable in a lawsuit. The scooter company may be sued over a defect. Many of these scooters are dropped on the streets and sidewalks where they are vulnerable to vandals. Companies like Bird and Lime are obligated to repair and maintain their scooters.

Call a Virginia Injury Lawyer over Scooter Rider Injuries

Some of the injuries associated with scooter accidents are terrible. Riders are vulnerable on these machines and are often inexperienced. Many of them suffer serious head injuries. If you or a family member has been injured in a scooter crash, please call our Virginia injury lawyers today for a free consultation at (757) 244-7000.

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If you or a relative had a severe reaction to military housing mold, it might be time to talk with a toxic mold lawyer. Mold is everywhere, and can be dangerous. Researchers have linked mold to serious respiratory illnesses in some individuals.

Smith Law Center may be able to help if a property owner failed to keep you safe from mold in your military housing. We are one of Virginia’s oldest and most successful firms. We know how to hold negligent property owners responsible, especially when the military is involved.

Call us at (757) 244-700 or contact us online to set up a free consultation. There’s no fee for learning more about Virginia mold laws, your rights, and your legal options.

Mold in Military Housing

Black mold in military housing became widely known when Reuters published an investigation in 2018. Since then, the Department of Defense and the housing providers were supposed to take steps to improve the situation.

Unfortunately, a 2020 audit by the DoD Office of Inspector General found many issues, including the need for mold remediation, still persist.

Monetary Awards in Military Housing Toxic Mold Cases

If the property owner lets toxic mold run wild and continue to cause you harm, talk with our toxic mold attorneys about filing a lawsuit.

You may receive financial compensation for:

Service members and their families do not receive different types of damages than civilians. These are civil lawsuits in traditional courts of law.

Military Housing Mold Toxicity Symptoms

The Institute of Medicine discovered there was evidence connecting exposure to indoor mold with:

  • Upper respiratory tract symptoms;
  • Coughing;
  • Wheezing;
  • Asthma symptoms in individuals with asthma; and
  • Hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals with weak immune systems.

There is also limited evidence that mold causes respiratory illnesses in healthy children or causes people to develop asthma.

Understanding Exposure to Toxic Mold in Military Housing

The topic of toxic mold is complicated. This Is in part because the term “toxic mold” isn’t accurate. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains mold isn’t toxic or poisonous. However, some molds are toxigenic, which means they produce toxins called mycotoxins.

Mold is common in military housing because it’ll grow anywhere there’s moisture. That includes on and inside walls, carpet, upholstery, wallpaper, and heating and air conditioning systems. This is especially pronounced in humid conditions such as those present in Virginia.

Some people have no difficulties around mold, even large infestations in their homes. Other individuals are sensitive to molds, including those that produce mycotoxins. Someone can have a severe reaction when exposed to a large amount of mold indoors.

People may be more likely to experience mold toxicity symptoms if they have:

  • Allergies,
  • An underlying lung disease,
  • Immune suppression,
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder,
  • Asthma, or
  • Another chronic respiratory disease.

Common Types of Military Housing Mold

When you’re trying to learn more from the CDC and other resources, you’ll see the word “fungus” a lot. Mold is a type of fungus, which is something that exists all around us. Fungi are living organisms different from animals, plants, and bacteria. There are over 200,000 types of fungi and over 100,000 types of molds.

If you discovered mold in your military housing, it could be Cladosporium, Penicillium, Stachybotrys chartarum, Aspergillus, or many other types. Stachybotrys is what everyone knows as black mold. Aspergillus is a common indoor fungus, which releases mycotoxins and can cause illness. Your symptoms may resemble common allergy or asthma symptoms.

Who is Liable for Military Housing Mold?

Since 1996, most military housing has come under the management of private companies:

  • Belfour Beatty Communities: Fort Eustis and Fort Story/li>
  • Lincoln Military Housing: Dahlgren, Little Creek, Naval Station Norfolk, Northwest Annex, Oceana, Portsmouth, Quantico, and Yorktown/li>
  • Hunt Military Communities: Fort Lee and Langley AFB

Outside of Virginia, Lendlease and Corvias Military Living are two more housing providers. Together, these five companies formed the Military Housing Association.

Military families living in on-base housing must take their complaints to their private management company — not the military. The company is responsible for providing habitable conditions and making repairs, including mold remediation.

If you’re unsure about your rights, review your state law and local ordinances about mold. In general, it’s the landlord’s responsibility to provide a habitable unit, which means it has to be safe to live in. A unit isn’t safe if it’s causing a tenant health issues due to mold.

The Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act requires landlords to disclose if there’s mold in the written report of the move-in inspection. If a tenant discovers visible mold in the unit, then the Act requires the landlord to remove the mold and relocate the tenant until it’s gone at no additional cost to the tenant.

Unfortunately, many families find their housing providers aren’t receptive to complaints. Attorney Stephen M. Smith has handled many mold lawsuits against military housing providers who fail to abide by their lease terms and the law when it comes to mold remediation and other hazards.

Other Hazards in Military Housing

Many service members and their families deal with uncomfortable, if not hazardous, conditions in privatized military housing, including:

Lead Paint: Lead-based paint can cause headaches, nausea, fatigue, irritability, behavioral problems, learning disabilities, seizures, organ damage, and in extreme cases, death.

Asbestos: Exposure to asbestos harms a person’s lungs, and can lead to lung fibrosis (scarring), lung cancer, and mesothelioma.

Radon: Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. It naturally forms underground, however cracks and gaps in buildings lead to over-exposure indoors.

Poor Water Quality: Dozens of military sites have water with detectable levels of harmful chemicals.

Other issues involve rodent or insect infestations, pesticides, and faulty electrical wiring.

What Happens When a Lot of People Get Sick?

Sometimes mold exposure impacts a single individual or family. However, when the mold spreads throughout military housing, it can impact hundreds or thousands of people.

Occasionally, a large enough group of people are injured to allow for a class action or mass tort lawsuit. A class action lawsuit is one where a class representative acts as the plaintiff on behalf of the group of hurt individuals. Not every victim participates in the lawsuit. There are rules about when a group is big and similar enough to create a class action.

Mass tort lawsuits are different. When there are fewer plaintiffs who have their own set of circumstances, each person files a lawsuit. For efficiency’s sake, one or a couple of law firms may represent most plaintiffs, and the lawsuits are consolidated in a federal court.

Call the Military Housing Mold Lawyers at Smith Law Center for Help Right Away

Mold cases come about in a few ways. You or a loved one may start getting sick, and after weeks or months of struggling to find answers, you finally realize your military housing has a mold infestation. In other cases, you struggle with visible mold and then become ill.

Once you connect the illness with the mold, it’s time to talk with a toxic mold lawyer. Reaching out to an attorney early helps you build a strong compensation claim. We know how to collect evidence, identify who is liable, and craft a successful argument for a settlement or court award.

Attorney Stephen M. Smith has decades of experience handling injury claims and has been internationally recognized for his work. He has litigated cases involving catastrophic injuries and complex legal and scientific issues. In 2019, he was inducted into the Virginia Lawyers Hall of Fame.

You’re in good hands when you come to Smith Law Center for help. Reach out online or call (757) 244-7000 to schedule your 100% free consultation.

Military Housing Mold Lawsuits: FAQs

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